British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic successfully completed its first suborbital test flight of its SpaceShipTwo series spacecraft Unity in the United States, one of three planned for 2021 on Saturday, May 22. By the end of the year, the company intends to obtain permission for commercial flights in the United States. This was reported on Saturday on the company's website.
Virgin's VMS Eve carrier aircraft took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Ten minutes before its launch, VSS Unity switched to power from its own battery and then carried out flight control and on-board electrical checks. After the spacecraft undocked from the carrier aircraft, the pilots fired the rocket engine. A few minutes later, they turned it off because the momentum was enough to reach space. Each of the vehicles was led by two pilots – one of them became the first to fly into space in three different states of the United States.
VSS Unity was able to reach Mach 3 speed and successfully land at Spaceport America, New Mexico. It was only the sixth successful space flight since 2016, but the first of three to allow Virgin Galactic to conduct commercial flights. In December last year, similar test flights were unsuccessful.
The Virgin Galactic CEO believes this test was a big step forward for the company. The company would begin processing the data collected during the test flight right away.